Hosting a wine tasting is never an easy thing to do. In my case, there is always the usual stress of being in front of people, having to be eloquent in a second language, and the paralyzing fear of spilling wine all over myself while trying in the most elegant way to use a spittoon in public… But our Tight Wad Oenophile class elevates the stress level even more. When I teach a Bordeaux class, I know for sure that the people that are going to be in front of me are going to be Bordeaux lovers. Easy. Reassuring. But who are going to be the people sitting in front of me this time? Are they mostly new to the world of wine and attending their first wine tasting or long time wine lovers and customers that are eager to discover new gems? Old world, new world? More red or white? Traditional grape varietals or more “exotic” ones? A lot to think about for me to be able to build a tasting that has some cohesion and select wines that people will both enjoy and that respect the theme: no wine over 25$. Stressful, hard on the instructor, but what a stimulating challenge! Here is my latest selection:
NV Zorzal Metodo Tradicional Extra Brut $18.99
Semillon & Chardonnay
Established in 2008, Zorzal belongs to Canadian partners and to the Michelini brothers. The brothers are outstanding in their passionate, personal leadership in both the work in the vineyards and winery. The winery is located in Gualtallary, one of Argentina’s most outstanding vine-growing valleys, situated at 1,350 meters above sea-level in the highest vine-growing zone in the Province of Mendoza. Dedicated to the production of high-quality wines, Zorzal finds its expression in respectful, non-invasive wine making, preferring fruit to oak and elegance to exuberance. This lovely bubbly has a fresh sourdough bread character, with notes of yellow apple and chamomile. Distinctive and racy, with Champagne-like quality… for a fraction of the price!
2014 Quinta Da Aveleda Vinho Verde $14.99
Loureiro & Alvarinho
Vinho Verde, Portugal
90 Points for this vintage, and for a third consecutive year, Quinta da Aveleda has been listed among the Top 3 of Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Top 100 Best Buys. Tropical flower and melon on the nose, with pomelo and green fig on the palate, and a vivid, almost briny finish. Ideal on its own, but a perfect pairing for your grilled salmon and prawns salad. I wouldn’t hesitate as well to pair this wine with a rich lobster mac-n-cheese, or your next sushi dinner. One of the most versatile white wines in the store!
2015 Megyer Tokaj Száraz (dry) $19.99
Hungary is famous for its sweet, botrytis affected wines – but the country’s winemakers make beautiful dry table wines such as this one. Furmint is the grape here, and while it’s a common one in Hungary, it’s not one we see often in Canada. Here’s your chance to try it at a great price! The dry Furmint wines from this country have only recently began to attract more attention. Floral, candy and fruity notes, along with a lively acidity make this one a standout. And don’t forget to take it this white out of the fridge at least 15-20 minutes before serving. I personally thought that this wine really needed to be served closer to 15 degrees Celsius to fully express itself.
2015 Saget La Petite Perrière $22.49
100% Pinot Noir
Vin de France
The new designation of “Vin de France” has offered the Saget family the opportunity to explore and discover the ideal balance between the fruitiness of those grape varieties grown in the south with the inherent acidity of grapes produced in the northern region (Touraine). It was under these conditions that La Petite Perrière wines were created. This Pinot Noir is largely sourced from their own estate vineyards in the Loire Valley as well as with grapes sourced from the South of France through their association with long term partners. This is a well-balanced Pinot with good acidity and silky tannins. It will seduce you with its red stewed fruits and spicy sensation in the mouth. Enjoy with lighter fare, vegetarian pizza, cheeses and pâté. A brand new addition to KWM’s selection; this one is definitely a keeper!
2015 Viña Maipo Mi Pueblo Syrah $14.99
85% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
Valle Central, Chile
A wonderful buy! This is a syrah of deep purple color and hue. Aromas of plums, blueberries and blackberries. Its captivating intense range of flavors and chocolate notes, and its soft texture and sweet tannins are irresistible. I find it perfect on its own, but it would also be a perfect companion for gourmet burger or vegetarian curry dish. THE wine to bring if you want to make sure to please any taste.
2015 Case Paolin Vignaioli Di Natura Cabernet $17.99
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Cabernet Franc
Veneto IGT, Italy
Case Paolin is the 5th generation family winery (devoted to organic farming) headed by Mirco Pozzobon – widely considered one of Italy’s leading winemakers. Total production is very small with just 5,800 cases a year. In fact, the characteristic clay of the Montello area in Veneto offers soil that is rich in iron and other mineral components. This offering is created from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grown in vineyards located around the farm in Belvedere di Volpago del Montello. Look for pronounced notes of red currant and violet, along with a cedar character in the bouquet and a round and smooth finish. Enjoy with pasta in tomato sauce, pizza topped with grilled calamari, and wild game ragu.
2013 Casa Los Frailes $17.99
Monastrell & Garnacha
Here’s a delightful red from the Valencia region of Spain. Made from a blend of Monastrell and Grenache grapes this wine is fresh, very aromatic, intensely fruity and medium-bodied. Los Frailes Monastrell-Garnacha has an expressive nose of plum and fruit, with a slight background of fennel and dried herbs that gives freshness. The attack on the palate is soft, almost sweet. The wine caresses the palate and then come the woody and smoky notes of barrel aging. And did we mention this vintage scored 90 Points from Robert Parker and that the wine is 100% organic? What is there not to love!
This latest edition of our beloved value-oriented tasting was definitely one of many surprises for me, including the vote for the favorites of the night. I personally enjoyed all the wines and I thought that they were all showing particularly well on Thursday evening. My vote doesn’t count, but my 2 “coup de coeur” of the night would have been the Furmint from Megyer, and the Case Paolin Cabernet. Both were showing a level of complexity and balance that is unusual for wines at this price point.
#1 2013 Casa Los Frailes Monastrell-Grenache, Spain $17.99
#2 2015 Megyer Tokaj Száraz (dry) Furmint, Hungary $19.99
#3 2015 Case Paolin Vignaioli Di Natura Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc, Italy $17.99
I have been hosting our Tight Wad Oenophile class for the last year and a bit, and I must say that this edition was particularly enjoyable for me. Thank you to our guests and to the great producers that still allow us to stalk a selection of amazing quality wines at under 20$ on our shelves.
Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to buy your tickets for our next store-wide French wine Festival on Friday March 25th. Only a few tickets left!